You’ve seen wheatgrass shots at health food stores and smoothie places, right? Nowadays, it seems every smoothie shop – and even schmancy coffee shops – sell shots of wheatgrass as a “healthy complement” to your order.
But, is wheatgrass good for you?
If this is the first time you’re reading about it though…wheatgrass, the young grass shoots of the Triticum Aestivum plant, more commonly known as the wheat plant, is that bright green juice that became a trendy health supplement about a decade ago.
Wheatgrass is often sold as a fresh juice, but you can get it as a frozen juice, or in tablet form, and as a powder, too. Of course, there are different compositions that vary according to their how they were made and what kind of conditions they were grown in.
Now, people have touted this green drink as a miracle cure for everything from cancer to weight loss… mostly due to its supposed superfood nutrients, such as chlorophyll, fiber and antioxidants.
But honestly, it’s a big hoax.
Why? I created a new video that tells the whole story. Check it out…
You see, wheatgrass is totally useless because…
Humans can’t digest grass.
Our bodies weren’t built to process wheatgrass or any other kind of grass…if we were, we’d have 4 stomachs, like a cow!
Wheatgrass fans also insist it’s chock full of vital nutrients… amino acids, iron, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins…And yes, it does have some nutrients.
But if you take a closer look at the nutritional facts, a 2-ounce serving only has 15% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C and 20% of your daily intake of iron. Also touted as a shortcut to getting your daily dose of veggies, a shot has roughly the same nutrients as only three ounces of veggies…And the recommended daily dose of veggies is roughly 20 ounces!
So, that means you’d have to take seven shots of wheatgrass per day, which would cost you roughly $25 to $35. What a nightmare for both your taste buds and your wallet!
And besides tasting horrible and being expensive, it contains powerful plant toxins that make you sick and wreck havoc on your gut… especially if you drink wheatgrass on a regular basis.
Ever notice that when a dog wants to throw up, it eats grass? That situation alone is enough to avoid the stuff.
The truth is …
Wheatgrass is just grass.
But, let’s dig a little deeper to discover more about these crazy claims.
First, let’s talk about this whole Chlorophyll situation.
One of the major claims made by wheatgrass fanatics about wheatgrass juice is that – and follow me here – because it has a high chlorophyll content, it can magically help build your blood. What?
Well, here’s how they get to that … they know that the structure of chlorophyll isn’t that far off from the structure of hemoglobin. And hemoglobin is important to the makeup of your blood. So, that’s it. That’s the leap. This is like that, so therefore, this is that? Uh. No.
Some fans of wheatgrass even argue that there’s only one difference between hemoglobin and chlorophyll – the binding element. For hemoglobin, that’s iron. For chlorophyll, that’s magnesium. These are two incredibly different elements. It’s a rickety argument at best.
Now, what exactly is chlorophyll?
Now, you might remember from biology class, chlorophyll is the substance that basically turns the energy from the sun’s rays into chemical energy through a process called photosynthesis.
And photosynthesis is a big deal. In fact, if this process didn’t exist, neither would human life – or almost any form of animal life, for that matter. That’s because a plant is really the only organism that can make carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water.
Just how does that compare to hemoglobin?
Well, hemoglobin is a protein. It’s main purpose is to carry oxygen to your red blood cells – and to your lungs, and any other organ that might need it. Also, hemoglobin makes up approximately 35% of your blood. So, like chlorophyll, human life wouldn’t exist without hemoglobin, either.
So, where do the two substances meet?
They sort of don’t. Again, hemoglobin is built around iron, and chlorophyll is built around magnesium. It’s just too big of a difference, so to make the case that the substances could be interchanged is just bogus.
Let’s say, for instance, you were iron deficient. Would you simply take magnesium and hope that your body could magically transform it to iron? It’s not magic, it’s chemistry. And it just doesn’t work like that.
Now, I will give wheatgrass this – there are natural compounds that help keep your blood strong and healthy. And many of these natural compounds – like calcium, vitamin C, iron, and folic acid – can be found in foods that are rich in chlorophyll. Foods like leafy greens are both rich in chlorophyll and the nutrients listed above. So, sure … chlorophyll hangs out with some pretty helpful nutrients – but proximity doesn’t make it essential. It’s really just a nutrient groupie.
And, when it comes to claims about the medical use of wheatgrass – studies are thin.
In many cases, the trials are small, and a number of methodological problems come up. While no real adverse effects of wheatgrass have been reported, some forms have posed certain problems when it comes to who can and who can’t tolerate it.1
Also, when it comes to the human diet, chlorophyll isn’t on the list of essentials. People can go for long stretches of time without eating foods high in chlorophyll.
And again, I’ll reiterate – the biggest confusion about wheatgrass is that humans aren’t really meant to eat it. We’re not set up to digest it. Try as you might to stomach that grassy drink, we are not a grass-eating species. You can get your vitamins and minerals elsewhere … and you should.
Now, some wheatgrass enthusiasts argue that there are beneficial enzymes inside …
Turns out, there are some enzymes in wheatgrass. But, they’re not helpful. They’re not the enzymes your body needs in order to help it digest the food you’re consuming.
What is an enzyme?
Basically, an enzyme is a protein that acts as a catalyst in your body. It inspires a very specific type of chemical reaction occur and allows your body to carry out various functions.
Food enzymes are those enzymes. They’re found in food, yes, but they’re essentially meant to defend the food itself. So, the plant contains enzymes that defend it against predators – people like us who want to kill it and eat it.
Certain enzymes are also digestive inhibitors – that means they’re proteins that block the normal digestion and absorption of nutrients by herbivores and omnivores – like people.2 In this way, the enzymes perform a sort of sneak attack and can protect the existence of the plant itself.
Furthermore, enzymes can’t really be an important reason to consume wheatgrass because …
Your stomach acid breaks them apart upon ingestion.
The acids in your gut take no prisoners. And why should they? The plant enzymes found in wheatgrass are unnecessary. It’s just another attempt by food marketers to get your to spend your hard-earned cash.
The bottom line is: don’t waste your money. Just don’t do it. It doesn’t taste great and the benefits are null. It’s touted as a shortcut to getting your veggies in, but it’s just a hoax.
So, and please share this with friends and family, especially if you know they are avid wheatgrass fans.
Looking out for you,
Steven Gundry, MD
Article updated on August 17th, 2017.